This section of the News and Media Services department site tracks stories in print and broadcast media that feature Auggie faculty, students, and staff. The area also is home to material developed for University-related programs, events, and more.
The New York Times recently featured Crescent Cove, Minnesota’s first children’s hospice home that specializes in end-of-life care for families with dying children. Crescent Cove was founded by Augsburg alumna Katie Lindenfelser, who majored in music therapy.
The hospice is a peaceful place for kids and parents to spend their last days together, with a 24-hour watch of specialized nurses, aides, and volunteers. This idea came about when Lindenfelser was a music therapist working with terminally-ill children in an intensive-care unit. Many parents expressed interest in a hospice home for their own sick children so that they wouldn’t have to die at home or at a hospital.
The article provides insight into the lives of the families who have used Cresent Cove and how the hospice came to be.
Augsburg associate professor of history Michael Lansing describes history as “a live project” in the MinnPost article, “On Dead White Men and the Politics of Minnesota’s History.”
“Evidence-based efforts to change the names of places with the questions and concerns of the present in mind is what the dead white men of the past tell us we should do,” Lansing wrote. “Historians of an earlier age knew that, by definition, history is always changing. On this count, we should listen to them closely.”
Doors Open Minneapolis offers people the opportunity to explore the history and culture of Minneapolis through more than 100 of the city’s buildings that will be open May 18 and 19.
Current Auggie, Justice Jones, who is an apprentice with visual art center Juxtaposition Arts, told MPR News, that she will lead an activity at the Mill City Museum with the purpose to “arm people with the tools for participating in the public design process so they can speak up on issues like gentrification and accessibility.”
“Getting people to think about what are you doing with your waste. What kind of materials are you using, are you sourcing them locally? Can you remake a building using the foundation that’s already there? Just finding ways to create communities that are better for the environment and better for people.”
Olivia Maccoux ’19 spoke with Kare 11 about her journey to graduation after 140 brain surgeries. Maccoux lives with a rare condition called hydrocephalus, which causes fluid to build on the brain. “College graduation to me is a big deal,” she told Kare 11. “The doctors didn’t believe I’d make it past birth.”
On May 10, Maccoux graduated with honors from Augsburg, a day she thought would never happen. During her freshman year in college, she had a seizure in her dorm room and had to drop out of school for a time. Aside from her family and friends, her neurosurgeon was also present at the U.S. Bank Stadium commencement ceremony. She credits him for why she was able to graduate and now wants to build a career sharing her story with the world. Her experiences have given her a purpose to advocate and be a voice for those with invisible illness and disabilities. Recently, Maccoux spoke at a fundraising event in Hollywood, California, with comedian Conan O’Brien, where she helped raise $300,000 by sharing her story. “Just because you have not so great circumstances doesn’t mean your life is over” she told Kare 11.
For the first time, the Augsburg University commencement will be held off campus at U.S. Bank Stadium at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10.
In making this location change, Augsburg is responding to consistent concerns raised by graduating students regarding the limited number of tickets available for their guests to attend on-campus ceremonies, which were held most recently in Si Melby Hall’s gymnasium.
Augsburg will use a portion of U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The change in venue and dramatic increase in total available seats will enable all graduates, their families, their friends, and members of the Augsburg community to celebrate together. Tickets are required.
Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will be the commencement speaker. He is currently The Minneapolis Foundation president and CEO.
Augsburg University is sharing this background about the immigration case involving Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama to keep our campus and the public informed.
Status with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The Board of Immigration Appeals has granted Mzenga Wanyama’s motion to reopen the asylum application for him and his wife, Mary Mzenga, for another hearing. Their case will now be transferred back to the local immigration court in the Twin Cities where they will be allowed to present new evidence in support of the asylum application and application for cancellation of removal. This decision allows them to remain in the U.S. while the immigration court reviews their case.
On August 31, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a stay of removal. As a result, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement couldn’t deport them until the Board issued a decision on the merits of the motion to reopen the asylum case.
ICE had previously informed them that they were required to depart the United States in October 2018.
On April 5, 2018, Wanyama and his wife were informed in a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that ICE would allow them 90 days to depart the United States. During a June 29, 2018 meeting ICE confirmed that it had extended their departure date from July 4, 2018 to August 3, 2018. The ICE office had asked them to return to the office on July 25, 2018 for a check-in.
On July 25, 2018, ICE then informed them that they would have to depart the United States on September 9, 2018. He was required to bring the plane tickets with a September 9 departure data to a check-in appointment with ICE on September 4, 2018. The September 9, 2018 departure was later extended 30 days.
Meanwhile, a motion to reopen Dr. Wanyama’s asylum application based on changed country conditions and a stay of removal was filed earlier that summer with the Board of Immigration Appeals. Once ICE was unwilling to use its discretionary authority any longer, his attorney requested the emergency review of the stay of removal that was granted August 31, 2018. If the stay had not granted, he and his wife would most likely have had to leave the U.S. in October 2018.
Augsburg University statements Augsburg issued a statement from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow following the Wanaymas’ April 5, 2018 ICE meeting, as well as statements before and following the previous ICE meeting, on March 9, 2018. These statements are posted below:
Augsburg University faculty statement
The Augsburg University faculty calls on the U.S. government to halt plans for the unjust deportation of our colleague Professor Mzenga Wanyama and his spouse and Augsburg nursing student Mary Mzenga and to permit their continued work and residence in the US. We stand against the anti-immigrant sentiment that is prompting the current wave of deportations and proudly affirm our status as an institution that supports the many immigrant and refugee members of our academic community.
Website A website, www.mzenga.com, has been created by friends and supporters of Mzenga and Mary Wanyama. The site includes a statement from the Wanyamas, information about the next Immigration and Customs Enforcement meeting, and information about getting involved and providing support.
Work authorization and sponsorship
Augsburg University complies with federal law that requires employers to verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Professor Wanyama has authorization to work in the United States, issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Sponsorship for permanent resident status is not an option at this time due to a restriction related to a J-1 two-year home residency requirement. The two-year home residency requirement means that those who come to the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status, or get work or family-based visa status until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. A request to waive the two-year home residency requirement was filed several years ago, but the waiver was denied. Augsburg is working with legal counsel to pursue all options available to us under the current scenario.
Augsburg becomes Minnesota’s only university with a varsity women’s wrestling team, media outlets reported.
The Star Tribune and City Pages featured stories about the Augsburg University team that will start competing during the 2019-20 academic year.
According to City Pages: “Wrestling is one of the fastest-growing high school sports in the country among women. Since 1994, the number of participants has shot up from 800 to 16,500. So far, only 46 other colleges and universities have programs, but Augsburg is expected to be one of 14 schools to jump on the bandwagon within the next two years.”
The wrestling team continues Augsburg’s pioneering tradition in women’s athletics. Augsburg was the first college in the Midwest in 1995 to sponsor a varsity women’s ice hockey team. Then, in 2014, Augsburg became the first collegiate institution in Minnesota to sponsor a varsity women’s lacrosse team.
The Forum on Workplace Inclusion® will have a new home starting July 1 at one of the most diverse private colleges in the Midwest, Augsburg University.
Currently based at the University of St. Thomas, The Forum is the nation’s largest workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion conference designed for a national and global audience. Leaders from The Forum, Augsburg University, and the University of St. Thomas made the announcement April 17 at this year’s Forum at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
“The Forum on Workplace Inclusion is excited to begin a new chapter with our move to Augsburg University,” said Steve Humerickhouse, executive director of The Forum. “The University of St. Thomas has been a great home for us for 23 of our 31 years. We will miss seeing our Tommie colleagues on a regular basis but look forward to meeting our new Auggie family and to the amazing things we can create together!”
The Forum has served as a convening hub for those seeking to grow professional leadership and effectiveness skills in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion by engaging people, advancing ideas, and igniting change.
As a member of the Governor’s Workforce Development Board, Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow believes Augsburg’s inclusive Minneapolis campus, where undergraduate students of color total 47 percent, is a natural setting for The Forum to base its work.
“I welcome The Forum to the Augsburg campus and look forward to the partnership we will create toward a vibrant economy with equitable workplace opportunities for all,” Pribbenow said. “By partnering with the Forum, Augsburg gains immediate visibility, recognition, and connections among corporate leaders who share our commitment to diversity and equity.”
University of St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan said, “St. Thomas has great respect for The Forum on Workplace Inclusion and is proud to have had a hand in helping it become one of the nation’s largest workplace diversity, equity and inclusion conferences. More great things are in store as they move forward with their new partnership with Augsburg University.”
MediaContact: Gita Sitaramiah, Augsburg director of PR 612.330.1476.
About Augsburg. Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.
About The Forum. For 31 years, The Forum has served as a convening hub for those seeking to grow professional leadership and effectiveness skills in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion by engaging people, advancing ideas, and igniting change. The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Annual Conference is the nation’s largest – and one of the world’s largest – workplace DEI conferences designed for national and global audiences. For more information and registration, visit ForumWorkplaceInclusion.org.
Augsburg University has named Ryan K. Haaland as the dean of Arts & Sciences, responsible for providing vision and leadership for faculty and academic programs, and supporting Augsburg’s emphasis on student-centered learning.
Haaland comes to Augsburg from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, with many years of collaborative leadership experience in multiple institutional contexts, and 21 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Air Force.
“Ryan is a passionate educator who shares Augsburg’s commitments to the liberal arts tradition and to serving students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education,” said Karen Kaivola, Augsburg’s provost and chief academic officer. “He will support faculty excellence, and his experience in programmatic innovation that prepares students for meaningful work in the 21st century will be a benefit to our students long after they graduate.”
Haaland will transition to Augsburg this summer and be on campus full-time in July. He also will hold a tenured faculty appointment as professor of physics.
“I’m eager to support the Augsburg mission of educating students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders,” Haaland said. “I also am dedicated to advancing Augsburg’s commitments to equity and inclusion.”
A nationally-recognized leader in broadening participation and diversity in STEM education, Haaland has received numerous grants and developed strategic partnerships that advance pathways and opportunities for students with industry, federal institutions, and research universities. Haaland currently serves as Arts and Sciences Liaison to the Provost at Fort Lewis College, where he is professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering. He serves in this dean-equivalent position with cabinet-level responsibilities that include representing 15 academic departments and 25 degree-granting programs. He helped lead the design and construction of a $35 million state-of-the-art science and engineering facility at Fort Lewis College, where he also developed and launched new computer engineering and interdisciplinary environment science programs. He brings extensive engagement and outreach experience with community partners, alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees.
Haaland joined Fort Lewis College in 2006 as a faculty member after serving 12 years in the Department of Physics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he rose through the faculty ranks from instructor to associate professor and department chair, in addition to other leadership roles. Haaland earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, a master of science degree in space physics from UCLA, and a doctorate of philosophy in physics from the University of Oxford, England.